Houston’s top four New Year’s Eve venues

Planning a big New Year’s Eve celebration, and want
something that will be remembered for more than just the hangovers? You might
not think of ‘The Bayou City,’ which is the nickname for Houston, Texas, as a
venue for a memorable event to welcome the New Year, but you’d be advised to
think again.

The fourth largest city in the country, known
primarily for being the headquarters for many of the world’s largest oil
companies, is also home to a diverse collection of night spots offering top
flight entertainment, exquisite food and drink, and a uniquely East Texas sense
of fun.

Originally founded as a port city, Houston was long
known as a big town where the sidewalks were rolled up at night and everyone
lit out for the suburbs or smaller satellite towns. Over the past two decades,
however, it has transformed itself into a metropolitan area that offers a range
of evening activities for singles, couples, and families. Whether you want to do
a Tex-Mex food party with lots of beer to wash it down, or a sophisticated gala
with champagne and exotic cuisine, Houston has a restaurant, bistro, or
watering hole to meet your needs. Here are four of the best:

Rudi Lechner’s Restaurant,  2503 S. Gessner Rd. Located in Southwest
Houston, Rudi Lechner’s is a great
spot for a small party. While the main offering is German and Swiss, along with
the schnitzel and sauerbraten, you can get a Texas favorite, chicken fried
steak, or chicken and dumplings, washed down, of course with lots of beer and
schnapps. Perfect for groups of 15 or less, but can also accommodate groups of
up to 50 in private rooms. For reservations, call 713-782-1180 or fax
713-780-7541. You can also contact them by email at [email protected]

Sonoma Retail Wine Bar and Restaurant, 801 Studewood
St.: From the outside Sonoma Retail
Wine Bar & Restaurant doesn’t look very impressive, but once inside it
will rock you on your heels. This nondescript beige building houses over 150
wines from all over the world in an atmosphere reminiscent of Sonoma,
California. In addition, there is a varied European menu and a wide selection
of other beverages that will make your celebration unforgettable. You can chose
from the rooftop patio that will accommodate up to 30 for a stand-up cocktail
party, the dining room with seating for up to 48 in a semi-private setting, or
the bar/lounge with its 30-foot long leather, granite bar for a party for up to
40 people. Call 713-864-9463 for reservations.

Katz’s Deli and Bar, 616 Westheimer St.: For a New
York-style celebration in a place that, like New York City, never closes, you
won’t find a better venue than Katz’s Deli and
Bar. Great deli food with beer and cocktails, at prices that won’t strain
your wallet, and you can party until the sun comes up. Give them a ring at
713-521-3838 to set up your New Year’s Eve shindig, or any other all-nighter
you have in mind.

Phil & Derek’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, 2811
Bammel Lane: Let the good times roll at Phil
& Derek’s, a bistro with the flavor of New Orleans. The menu is Big
Easy at its best, with seafood, steak, and chicken prepared more ways than you
can count, and served in the style of the French Quarter. Phil & Derek’s
has a big, New Orleans-style front porch, French doors, and antiques that will
transport you from Houston to the Big Easy as soon as you step through the
door. For a New Year’s Eve celebration where country cozy meets urban chic,
give them a call at 713-520-1314, fax them at 713-529-8481, or shoot them an
email at [email protected]

These are just four of the top spots to host your next New Year’s Eve bash that are guaranteed to propel your name to the top of the ‘host with the most’ list. This is not an all-inclusive list, however, as Houston has literally hundreds of great venues to choose from, but these should definitely be at the top of your list.